Weed and the City

A Local Writer’s Commentary on Comedy and Cannabis in The District of Columbia.

As a creative person, I used to feel intimidated by living in Washington DC. It’s a city full of academics, politicians and people with a lot of credentials I’ll never have. I felt like I was “just a writer and an artist”.  I was constantly comparing the value of my unfinished art school education and anti-nine-to-five schedule to the majority of Washingtonians living a more in-the-box lifestyle.  Fast forward a few years later to present day: I finally feel like I’ve created my own community of like minded peers, and can value my personal and professional choices without comparing them to people with different values and goals. Thankfully, I was able to move past my limiting feelings, and I’m now unabashedly stoked to talk about things like my unconventional nightlife as a comedian, or how I make money by doing things like writing articles for the District’s most popular cannabis business.

A few weeks ago, I wrote an article about tinctures for the LOCAL’d blog. In it I mentioned how and why I’ve recently cut back on smoking (vape pens and flower) considerably. After that article was published, the good people of LOCAL’d took note and offered me one of the best assignments of my writing career thus far: I was sent the entire selection of edibles they offer (as gifts with online store purchase), and was asked to write a review on them.

When it came time to write the review, I thought it would be a great idea to try the edibles over the course of the evening, and then write about each of them while they were in effect. This turned out to be one of the most relaxing and pain-free evenings I’ve had in weeks, but (needless to say) was not a great idea as far as productivity goes.

I had high hopes for a night full of creative writing, but in reality I spent the evening couch-locked and binge-watching stand-up comedy specials on Netflix. I ended up becoming too relaxed and carefree to write a goddamn word. At some point I must have attempted giving writing a try because I woke up; face-down at my computer to the sound of a beeping, open refrigerator door at three o’clock in the morning.  

It took me (what I assume was) several minutes to reorient back into my body. I remember feeling as if I was operating under a slow-motion setting; I shuffled my feet from the kitchen, past the dining room table smeared in peanut butter, straight into my bed. I had no brain power to form articulate sentences, and no motivation to do anything but sleep. Four days later I finally had enough focus to sit down and write the article I had been assigned.

I know you might be thinking that my life is one big joke. If that’s the case, let me be the first to say: you are a.b.s.o.l.u.t.e.l.y right. But as a comedian, I think that means I’m succeeding.

(For the record, I’m aware the phrase “Working hard, or hardly working” applies here, and I’m more than happy to announce that I’m doing the latter.)

The small downside to my misjudgment meant having to tell my client and the entire World Wide Web this story. The big upside to all of this is that my resume now lists “paid to sit at home, get stoned and document the experience” under the Professional Tasks And Skill Sets section.

I’m now alright with the fact that my job title doesn’t seem exceptionally impressive to most. I’ve come to terms with knowing I’ll never hear an announcement over a plane’s loudspeaker asking, "Excuse me passengers, is there a writer with an ironic sense of humor and adequate social media skills onboard this aircraft?” Even still, it turns out that my role as contributing writer to the LOCAL’d blog is turning out to have valuable purpose:  

I was recently in Chicago to perform in some comedy shows and happend to be staying in the same hotel as guests attending a week long event called ASCO, the Nation’s largest oncology convention. During a happy hour at the hotel bar one evening, I unintentionally met and struck up conversation with a three-time breast cancer survivor. I learned she was there speaking as an advocate to thought leaders in the medical community on behalf of other cancer survivors. She mentioned to me that even though she is in remission, she struggles daily with physical and emotional challenges caused by her medical history. That’s when we got to talking about medicinal and recreational marijuana use. I shared with her that I also have a variety of chronic health issues, and that I’ve been a legal medical marijuana patient since the age of eighteen.

She told me she believed using cannabis would help her and that she had her doctors support, but she was unsure of how to consume it (and had yet to try it in any form). We talked for over an hour while I answered questions she had about side effects, methods, dosing and more. Without having to do much convincing, she was eager to get her hands on some cannabis products by the time our conversation was through. Luckily for her, the use of medicinal marijuana was recently legalized in her home state. I gave her some basic reference points for where and how to begin, and I also made sure to tell my new acquaintance what I tell most people who tell me they are struggling with a chronic physical condition: Research more about CBD to see if it might be a good entry point for you, and don’t be afraid to explore the world of THC edibles.

I walked away realizing that my last ten years of Stoner Lyfe have resulted in some serious Malcolm Gladwell hours. More importantly, I realized that talking openly about consuming cannabis and sharing my experiences with it actually has the potential to help some people, as unexpected as it may be. I’m definitely not curing cancer, but having the opportunity to help ease a person’s suffering or add to their quality of life (either through my niche-market knowledge about weed, or by telling jokes)...well that’s pretty fucking cool.

If you’re interested in learning some basics about edibles, or want to read my review of the products I tried from the LOCAL’d shop, click here

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